Rural Michigan


What’s behind the population boom in rural Michigan jails?

August 23, 2019 | Ted Roelofs

A state task force could convene on why rural jails hold a greater share of inmates, with more awaiting trial.

An Up North charter is 44 percent subs. You can’t tell difference, supt. says

August 7, 2019 | Ron French

At the fast-growing Charlton Heston Academy in St. Helen, nearly half of classrooms were staffed by uncertified, long-term substitutes last year. Superintendent says it’s not ideal, but charter can’t attract certified teachers.

New plans for Michigan psychiatric facility raise more concerns about care

August 5, 2019 | Ted Roelofs

Mental health advocates say a decision to keep a Caro psychiatric hospital open doesn't improve Michigan's mental health system.

Rural children more than twice as likely to be homeless in Michigan

July 25, 2019 | Magdalena Mihaylova

There aren’t enough early childhood education programs in the state to deal with the troubling rate of childhood homelessness, according to a new study. That could have lifelong ramifications.

Rural Michigan needs doctors. Paying their debts may be an answer

July 22, 2019 | Robin Erb

Lawmakers eye expansion of program that pays student debt of medical professionals who practice in underserved areas, as the Michigan doctor shortage intensifies.

Payday blues: Rural Michigan and the quick-cash debt hole

June 26, 2019 | Ted Roelofs

With interest rates that can top 400 percent a year, payday lenders sprout in small-town Michigan. Bipartisan legislation in Lansing would rein in lending practices, but there’s no guarantee it will get a hearing.

Suicide, depression on rise in rural Michigan, but psychiatrists are scarce

June 12, 2019 | Ted Roelofs

Doctors in the Upper Peninsula and other rural regions report long waits for psychiatric care; child specialists are even harder to find. Can student loan forgiveness for medical residents and telemedicine reduce the gap?

More than a dozen hospitals in rural Michigan at ‘high risk’ of closing

June 12, 2019 | Ted Roelofs

A devastating trend shows few signs of slowing, which means longer waits for an ambulance, distant maternity care and a brutal cycle that may lead more residents (and medical workers) to abandon rural communities.

In Alabama, one rural town reached for its wallet to keep its hospital open

June 12, 2019 | Ted Roelofs

Residents who depended on the hospital in tiny Haleyville agreed to pay hikes in sales and property taxes. Their sacrifice in tax-averse Alabama may portend what it will take to keep other rural medical facilities in business.

Michigan’s UP is full of closed mines. Technology may give them new life

April 3, 2019 | Jim Malewitz

Upper Peninsula communities struggled when mines shuttered. Now, researchers are studying whether closed mines could be used to store energy, lowering cripplingly high energy costs.

Whitmer’s road funding plan could pit Michigan cities against rural areas

April 1, 2019 | Lindsay VanHulle

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer has proposed making roads with the heaviest traffic a priority for more than $2 billion in new funding. That’s not going over well in rural Michigan.

How a typo revived a Michigan fish feud over hungry Yoopers and science

March 17, 2019 | Jim Malewitz

A brouhaha over brook trout has bubbled up in Michigan, pitting older anglers against downstate ones and prompting questions about whether science or special interests sets policy.

Where have all the babies gone? Michigan births lowest since 1944

March 11, 2019 | Ron French, Mike Wilkinson

In some counties, there are three funerals for every birth. That’s not a trend that bodes well for the state.

Suicides, often linked to opioids, spike in rural Michigan and among young

March 7, 2019 | Ted Roelofs

A new study finds links between two grim causes of death, but also poses some proven ways to reduce rates

A $18B debt is coming due, and it’s haunting small town Michigan

February 25, 2019 | Ted Roelofs

See how your town compares as a new state law tracking public pension and health care debt lays bare the financial woes of rural Michigan.

Pregnant in rural Michigan? Fill up your gas tank for delivery day.

January 10, 2019 | Ted Roelofs

As rural hospitals close their obstetrics units, many mothers and their babies will pay a price in far longer journeys for hospital care

For some rural mothers, there’s no place like home (births)

January 10, 2019 | Ted Roelofs

Michigan midwives deliver hundreds of babies a year at home, an option that may be more attractive to rural expectant mothers with no hospitals nearby

A slow-moving ‘disaster’ is threatening Lake Superior and way of life

September 18, 2018 | Jim Malewitz

The Buffalo Reef in the Keweenaw Peninsula teems with lake trout and whitefish. But a mountain of waste from a closed mine is slowly seeping into the water, prompting a desperate search for a solution.

Mining waste and growing wetlands mean more mercury in fish in Upper Peninsula

September 18, 2018 | Eric Freedman

A Michigan Tech researcher says studies show humans are at risk because of high levels of the toxic metal in inland Great Lakes fish.

Yes, you can pay rural Michigan college grads to come home

August 23, 2018 | Ron French

Tired of seeing their best and brightest head to college never to return, three Michigan counties offer to pay up to $15,000 of student debt for grads who come back for jobs. Counties in other states are taking notice.